The Advance Passenger Information/Passenger Name Record (API/PNR) program helps protect Canadians by enabling the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to perform a risk assessment of travellers before they arrive in Canada.
API/PNR data is used by the CBSA to identify persons who may be subject to closer questioning or examination on arrival in Canada because of their potential relationship to terrorism or terrorism-related crimes, or other serious crimes that are transnational in nature (e.g. smuggling of drugs or humans).
In the past, API/PNR data was made available from travellers when they arrived in Canada by reviewing their identification and travel documents, such as passports, tickets and itineraries, and by questioning them during the customs and immigration processes. Now, the data is available in advance of their arrvial.
Similar programs are being used by a number of other border inspection agencies worldwide, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Canada and the United States have an agreement to share API/PNR data under the terms of initiative number 8 of the Canada-U.S. Smart Border Declaration and associated 32-point Action Plan.
While the API/PNR program will ultimately be implemented for all modes of transportation, the CBSA's current focus is on air travel.
What is API/PNR Information?
API is basic information and includes the traveller’s name, date of birth, citizenship or nationality and passport or other travel document data.
PNR data is more detailed information and includes the traveller’s itinerary, address and check-in information. This information is gathered by the airlines in their reservation, check-in and departure control systems.
Under Canadian law, all commercial carriers are required to provide the CBSA with API/PNR data relating to all persons on board commercial conveyances bound for Canada.
The CBSA has the authority to obtain and collect such information under section 107.1 of the Customs Act, the Passenger Information (Customs) Regulations, paragraph 148 (1)(d) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and regulation 269 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
The Protection of Passenger Information Regulations under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act set out parameters related to the CBSA’s access, use, retention and disclosure of API/PNR data.
The CBSA does not require airlines to collect more information from travellers than is normally gathered for their passenger processing activities.
In accordance with legislated requirements to protect the privacy of persons who are the subjects of PNR data, the following is the policy of the CBSA:
Travellers have the right to request a copy of the API/PNR data that commercial carriers provide to the CBSA. They can also request that a notation be included if any of the information is incorrect (Form BSF153 – Traveller’s API/PNR Information Request).
For more information on the API/PNR program, visit the CBSA’s Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca/security-securite/api_ipv-eng.html.